This is “bread in the slow lane” made over a two day period. It tastes great and has a lovely texture. It’s definitely worth the time and effort. As the title indicates, this is for when the weather (and your kitchen) are fairly cool, hence the large amount of starter. At the time of writing and baking it was around 4°C outside in Derbyshire, UK – certainly not extremely cold.
You will need:
- A banneton (or medium sized bowl)
- A Dutch oven (or lidded casserole dish)
- A stand mixer (or strong arms and patience)
- 225g – 250g active starter
- 300ml tepid water
- 450g strong white flour
- 10g fine salt
- A “glug” of olive oil – optional
My schedule and method
Day 1 early morning – Take starter jar out of fridge and loosen or remove the lid. (I had a jar explode once, due to the pressure build up.) Allow it to come up to a reasonable room temperature.
A couple of hours later maybe – Stir well then tip away some of the mixture (about 50 – 100ml). Pour in 50ml – 75ml of water (I like to use pre-boiled cool water, but probably not essential.) Stir the water in well, then add the same amount of strong bread flour and mix thoroughly. Leave to stand with the lid off.
Sometime during the afternoon – Pour 225g – 250g starter into a mixer bowl (I usually use my stand mixer with a dough hook). Stir in the tepid water, add the flour & salt and mix well, scraping any dry residue down from the inside of the bowl. (Recently I’ve been adding a glug of olive oil; it’s nice but not essential.)
Knead well. Transfer to an oiled bowl and turn the dough mass over a few times until well oiled. Cover the bowl and leave in your kitchen until the next day.
Day 2 next morning – It may have risen overnight, but probably not enough yet. Leave in a warm room until well risen. (I sometimes warm the oven, turn it off, then put the bowl inside for 1 – 2 hours.)
Once it’s risen, knock it back and fold it over itself a few times to create a firm ball of dough. I put the ball of dough into a well floured banneton, but a bowl lined loosely with parchment should be OK. Cover it – I simply invert the large bowl over the top of the banneton, but you could use a damp tea towel. Leave the dough until risen again – probably 2 – 3 hours.
Carefully tip the dough ball out onto a large sheet of parchment paper. Brush off any excess flour. Use the parchment to lift the dough ball into a Dutch oven (or lidded casserole dish). The dough will spread, so a tight fit is good. Cut slashes on the top with a lam or sharp knife for decoration and to control any ripping.
Put the top on the Dutch oven and place it in a cold oven. Turn the oven on to Fan 220°C / 425°F / Gas 7 and leave it in there for 55 minutes. Then remove the Dutch oven lid and give the loaf another 5 – 7 minutes to add more colour.
Place on a wire rack and try very hard not to cut it or eat it until it’s cool. (I often fail this bit.)